Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bev's Trip to Orangutanland - Danum Valley, Malaysia

From Bev's Trip to Orangutanland blog:

I really wanted to go to the Danum Valley Area to see some more wildlife, and get deep into the Bornean Jungle before I left, and to have a chance to see Bornean Pygmy Elephants, but there's only two places to stay in the ares - one of them being a 5 star resort, with prices to match and the other, the Danum Valley Field Centre, for researchers, being fully booked by all accounts.

However, i was determined to go, so decided to go off on a little adventure to see if I could make my way into the valley somehow. All the buses to the Valley Area go from Lahad Datu, so I got an early morning bus from Sandakan, and arrived in Lahad Datu at about 9am. Loaded up with my now 20kg bag ( I haven't bought anything, so don't know where the extra 4 kg has come from!), I tried to find a taxi to the Field Centre, but couldnt, and noone seemed to speak a word of English, they didn't even understand 'taxi' when the malay is 'teksi'!

There wasn't another white person in the while town, and people were staring and laughing and prodding me. One guy even brought his young daughter up to me to point and show her 'the white girl'! Was very surreal, and I was about at the end of my tether when I found a taxi! I had to wait until 4pm to get a minivan to the centre, and met George, a kiwi girl and Madeleine and John, a couple from Surrey who had all arrived with the same idea as me - stubborn determination to get to the valley outweighing any sensible concerns about where we might stay! But we all felt a bit better once we had a little group of us!

We bounced along the dirt track for 81km/3 hours until we reached the centre. We spend most of th journey spotting elephant dung, and then, as it got dark, fireflies. The view was stunning tho - the clouds were down in the valley, and we were just in acres and acres of primary rainforest - although we saw huge numbers of logging lorries throughout our visit ; they claim that it's sustainable logging, but there is no way its sustainable the number of trees we saw leaving each day - is very sad.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Bev's Trip to Orangutanland - Danum Valley, Malaysia

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